What is LAB Design?
A small company that provides designs for residential buildings that have superior performance with respect to liveability without costing significantly more. We define a liveable house as one that is comfortable to live in; costs little to run; is low maintenance, is healthy to live in and is aesthetically pleasing.
Meet The Crew
We are Scott and Madonna Stewart who both have a passion for improving the quality and standards of Australian homes.
We both served as Navigators in the RAAF for a combined total of 32 years before making the transition to the Design field.
Our extensive experience operating complex aircraft systems in challenging environments and problem solving using a systematic approach give us the unique ability to step into the design and building industry with a fresh and innovative approach.
We have recognised areas where Australian home designs are lagging compared to international standards, questioned how these areas could be improved and devised solutions to achieve quality designs that function well whilst looking beautiful and feeling authentic.
Bachelor of Building Design
Certified Passivhaus Designer
Coco Republic Interior Decoration Essentials
Diploma of Project Management
Bachelor Technology (Aeronautical Engineering)
Certified Hempcrete Installer
How does LAB Design deliver solutions?
Why you should work with us?
Below is an explanation of our guiding principles, however, we will tailor our services to meet your needs and budget.
All our homes are designed with liveability aspects of solar orientation, cross ventilation, flow and circulation of traffic, proportion, sun shading etc. What really sets us apart though, is our use of the German designed Passivhaus system and standard.It is the only internationally recognised, performance-based energy standard in construction. Homes built to this standard require very little energy consumption (potentially 90% less). Essentially the home is insulated for the specific climate and a breathable but airtight envelope ensures that when you shut up the home because of very cold/hot/wet weather you require very little energy to maintain the home at a comfortable temperature. A constant supply of fresh and filtered air is supplied through a mechanical ventilation system with heat/cool recovery. Moisture is also controlled through a combination of insulation and ventilation thereby preventing mould inside the home. Double-glazing is part of the design system assisting with temperature maintenance, nil condensation on the inside of windows and noise control. Depending on the budget we can also include additional features such as solar or geothermal heating, waste water systems etc.
Some people may argue that by using such a science based design method, you will lose the beauty in the design. While it is true that certain materials, products and design ideas do not perform well within our designs, we are always able to find an alternative. We love beautiful, innovative and authentic homes, we will work hard to ensure all our designs are just that.
Our designs are tailored specifically to the client according to their wishes and any special needs they have but also to their unique location and climate. We input detailed meteorological data into our software so we can test the performance of the home throughout the seasons.
We use a combination of Passivhaus software (PHPP, Flixo) and REVIT (architectural 3D modeling software) to assess the performance of your house before its built. We take the guesswork out of home design, you will know exactly what you are going to get.
“We have both experienced European and Canadian winters and despite the climate, found winter warmer in those countries because the homes and workplaces are built for such extremes. This led us to devise a system that adapts the best of European design practices and specifications for the diverse Australian climate.”
“We kept asking ourselves ‘how can we do things better?’. By continually asking this question we design homes that address common problems faced by many everyday Australians. This includes houses that are cold in winter, hot in summer, rising electricity bills, mould in the home, poor circulation/ventilation…”
Shayne MacLachlan wrote an excellent piece Carbon emissions all at sea: why was shipping left out of the Paris Climate Agreement? Outlining the carbon emissions generated by the shipping industry, and possible solutions for encouraging technological...read more
Scott presented his unique lab design (Passive House Slab for Reactive Soils), which uses Australian building methods and products, at the South Pacific Passive House Conference in Melbourne in Feb 2016. Due to lots of interest in his design, the...read more